Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: April 3rd 2012
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Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
I fought reading Grave Mercy. I wasn’t sold on the concept of historical fiction and assassin nuns. I kept saying, maybe someday, thinking probably never. But my plans were foiled. About 17 people told me to read it and it was gifted to me at Christmas leaving me with little to no argument. So what did I do? I read it. And what did I think about it? I loved it. Grave Mercy is an excellent book and those 17 people knew what they were talking about.
Grave Mercy is about Ismae, a girl that has been treated as property by men her whole life. She has never been able to make her own choices. And then on the night of her betrothal to a vile man in her village she is saved and whisked away to a convent. But this convent serves the Saint of Death. Ismae has a choice to pledge her alliance to Death and learn how to kill people that are marked. Ismae agrees and is trained as an assassin. And then she is given her first big assignment. She is sent to act as the mistress for Duval, the confidant of the duchess. And to see if he is actually a traitor. As Ismae and Duval get closer Ismae’s orders starts to make her question who she is really aligned with, death or her heart.
When I started Grave Mercy I wasn’t sold off the bat. To be honest it was pretty slow in the start. But with a book being over 500 pages I guess that is a given. I didn’t give up though. I kept reading and then I hit my stride and I was hooked. The story took on an air of urgency as the mystery of who was working against who, who was on who’s side, and who was a traitor really took shape. Along with the budding relationship between Ismae and Duval.
Duval and Ismae were probably the perfect pair for one another. They were closed off and grumpy. They were untrusting and wary of one another and everyone else. Yet as they worked together they grew an admiration for each other which turned to more. It was a struggle for Ismae to see the good in any man, but it was truly amazing to see her grow and find that goodness inside Duval as she started to not only trust him but her instincts and her heart.
Truly Grave Mercy was the great reading experience that almost wasn’t. It was a great book rich in intrigue, mystery, politics and the slow burn romance. It was a fabulous look at how black and white isn’t always as simple as it looks. There are always shades of grey. Definitely, a series that will be continued by me.